Road to Peace: Chapter Seven


small, skinny many with short red hair met Locke and his friends at the door. A servant, judging by the white uniform he wore, Doma's insignia embroidered below his left shoulder. He bowed as the group appeared, touching the patch lightly before turning his back and walking inside with a quick order to follow.

He said nothing as he lead the party through long corridors, and they followed his example with cold silence. A few paintings hung on the stone walls, though so few to make everything look bare. The floors were hard stone in imitation of the walls, with even fewer rugs then there were paintings. Less then half of the gilded lanterns were lit; pools of light opposite cold shadow. After the world's destruction, luxury had been replaced by necessity. Even the few decorations were a surprise.

Just as the maze of halls began to make Locke's head spin with confusion, each one looking identical to the last, the man stopped beside a large, elaborately carved wooden door and shoved it open with obvious effort. The room inside held little more light then the halls, the stark odor of disease wafting though the halfway open door. Locke had always hated sickrooms.

Clenching his teeth, Locke stepped in behind Sabin, noting only one lamp alit in the far corner of the room. He was suddenly embraced from the side, golden hair sweeping across his chin. Looking down into deep blue eyes, he smiled and wrapped an arm around the body pressed against his.

"I'm so glad you came." Celes said, her troubled face showing joy for what seemed a very long time.

Smoothing back strands of hair hanging in her face, Locke looked into her eyes searchingly. "How is he?"

Celes shifted her gaze to a large bed on the far wall, a figure barely visible beneath the shadow cast by the high canopy. Sabin already sat on a chair opposite the bed, his face contorted with worry. "Delirious. He's burning up." Eyeing Sabin warily, she lowered her voice and turned back to Locke. "The nurses say many in his condition would have died by now. And if he does recover, the fervor will most likely have… changed him. They say it could effect the mind."

Nodding, Locke wrenched his eyes away from hers. He glanced at Setzer, who's expression said he had heard every word and was not at all pleased, before moving up beside Sabin. The man was staring at the bed, though his mind seemed to be elsewhere. Instead of disturbing his thoughts, Locke followed Sabin's gaze until it came to rest on the figure below the canopy. Leaning down, he examined Edgar's sweat streaked face, eyes shut tight as if in pain. He shut his own eyes, stood slowly, and let out a deep breath he had not realized he had been holding. Terra, and now Edgar. Was life ever fair?

He pushed that thought out of his head so quickly he was not sure he had even considered it. Kefka was gone—but magic with him, a though came from the back of his mind—the world is healing—it should have never been destroyed—and he had made many new friends—who are dying off like flies—stop it! Those thoughts would get him no where. And no one had died, yet.

"You must be hungry." Celes's voice came from behind. "Cyan had some food set out, just in case."

Locke suddenly realized he hadn't eaten for an entire day. Only glancing at Celes's hand as she laid it on his arm, he allowed himself to be lead out into the hall again, and through the dim, cave-like maze. He felt miserable, and judging by the worried glances he earned from Celes, she understood.

The sweet aroma of food filled Locke's nostrils and Celes opened a large door right off the entry hall. She led the way in, motioning for him to sit on a tall stool while she moved further inside the kitchen. When she appeared again from behind a rack of pots, she held a large platter of food above her head. It looked marvelous, and just as she set it down, Setzer came striding in, his long coat fluttering about behind him.

Taking a seat across from Locke, he rubbed his hands together, a grin spreading across his face as he examined the food before him. A large ham, more then half finished, surrounded by vegetables of all kinds.

"I hope you don't mind," Celes said from beside the table. "But leftovers is all there is. And anyway, I don't think you would like any of my cooking."

Locke turned away from the food, his gaze meeting Celes's. "This is magnificent." He said, nodding toward the food. And it was no lie, though he was so hungry he could eat just about anything right then. Setzer had already taken one of the plates from a counter nearby and was filling it eagerly.

Celes smiled weakly. "Yes, well. When your finished, ask the man at the entryway to show you to your rooms. We'll talk later, in the morning." And with that, she walked quickly out of the room, closing the door softly behind her.

Locke glanced at Setzer before retrieving his own plate and loading it with food, though he ate little. For some reason, he did not feel very hungry anymore.

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Prologue || Chapter One || Chapter Two || Chapter Three || Chapter Four || Chapter Five || Chapter Six || Chapter Seven || Chapter Eight || Chapter Nine || Chapter Ten || Chapter Eleven || Chapter Twelve || Chapter Thirteen